Pakistan: Pharmaceutical sector struggles amid economic crisis

Islamabad, Pakistan: The economic crisis in Pakistan has crippled the Pharmaceutical sector of the country as the industry struggles to replenish the medical supplies driven by the shortage of life-saving drugs and surgical instruments in the country.

As per reports, numerous factors have pushed Pakistan towards an economic crisis, which includes refusal of commercial banks to issue new Letters of Credit due to a shortage of US dollars, which has been affecting the drug companies.

On grounds, the stocks of life-saving drugs have been depleting, with the economy almost sinking into near-paralysis, as per experts. The pharmaceutical enterprises have been struggling to acquire raw materials, thereby reducing production, while patients continue to suffer on hospital beds.

As the sources report, the forex reserves of Pakistan have dropped down to as low as USD 4.3 Billion, and
support talks with IMF hang in the balance. The country is now unable to afford the basic imports, which include essentials like medicine and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), vaccines and cancer treatment products.

Moreover, the operation theatres have been continuing to work with stocks left for less than a two-week stock of anaesthetics, which is very crucial for sensitive surgeries, while the stock of raw materials that will last for four to five weeks.

The concerned stakeholders have urged the Pakistani Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for the quickest resolution of the issues before the economy hits rock bottom.

Meanwhile, the medical companies have been concerned with the raw material for making medicines being stuck at the Karachi port, along with the essential food items, from the past two weeks, owing to the shortage of dollars.

Additionally, outstanding interest expenses of Pakistan have escalated to 2.57 PakistRupees(PKR) in the first half of this financial year, which amounts to 65% of the annual debt servicing budget, forcing Pakistan to cut off its other spending.

Zurab Kvaratskhelia

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